It’s that time of year when the shine of back-to-school is perhaps wearing off, and the routine is kicking in. When you get home, the kids are tired by need entertaining, and you’re probably tired too. So we’ve come up with five ways to keep the kids entertained after school.
Once the after-school snacks have been devoured (anyone else getting through an obscene amount of Pom Bears?!) and you’ve been told they’ve done “dunno, nothing, can’t remember” all day at school, we love a slump in front of the TV.
But if you’re after something different than CBBC, here are some quick, easy ways to keep the kids happy.
I know – baking with kids is exhausting. But we’ve got a tip – make a biscuit dough ahead of time if you can, and stick it in the fridge. We love this cookie recipe – then let your kids roll it out, cut it out and bake.
The fun comes with the decorating. You can give them dyed icing using just water and icing sugar, or icing pens are great for less mess. Let them go wild. This activity keeps them busy for ages, we think it teaches some kind of maths with the shapes – maybe?!, and it ticks making pudding for dinner off the list too.
Tech to the rescue
We’ve recently discovered free online games at Plays.org, which are designed for kids – they’re safe, there’s no in-game purchasing, and they’re educational too. Oh, and they’re fun.
There’s new games being added all the time (find them on the tab at the top). And there’s something to keep all kids happy, whatever they’re into. From Disney Word Play, which is like a very easy wordsearch to Dinosaur Train Bridge Builder that teaches simple addition. It’s nice to set them up and let them explore without having to worry about what they’re up to.
I am a huge fan of Daisy Upton from Five-Minute Mum. She’s hilarious, and her games are always fun and encourage learning without it feeling forced.
Daisy recommends setting up a game at home before you head out to collect the kids, so it’s all ready to play when you get in. Her website is packed full of games, all of which will give you quality time with your child and hopefully help support their learning.
My kids love competitions and building, so we combine them into an assault-course making activity. Give them a few objects – cardboard boxes, a blanket or throw, perhaps a kids’ tunnel if you have one, and anything else you can think of – balls and bowls can work well if their aim is good. Then let them get creative and set up their own obstacle course, Krypton-factor style.
This might require some supervision from adults, but it’s something you can do sitting down. Sittervising is the aim of the game at 4pm – or is that just me?
Head to a park
We have loads of brilliant parks and playgrounds around where we live. Why not head to one of your favourites playgrounds to burn off any pent-up energy before dinner? Even better, loads of them have cafes on site so you can grab a coffee while they wear themselves out.
What do you love doing with your kids after school? Do you have a routine, or are you busy with lots of after-school clubs?